Defense gets Grafton boys going

High-flying plays help ignite Black Hawks, even season series vs. WB East

GRAFTON’S ALEX HUIBREGTSE made a few highlight-reel plays in driving to the basket and tipping in a ball last Friday against West Bend East. Huibregtse scored 21 points to help lead the Black Hawks to a 72-60 North Shore Conference victory. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press staff

Whether it was Bryson Clague or J.P. Benzschawel leaping into the sky for big blocks or guard Alex Huibregtse making ankle-breaking moves and bursting his way to the basket, the Grafton High School boys’ basketball team had it going last Friday at home.

The Black Hawks topped West Bend East, 72-60, avenging an overtime loss earlier in the season.

The Hawks’ defense held the Suns to 5-for-30 on three-point shooting, helping set up the team’s offense.

“That’s been the point of emphasis, like, forever,” coach Damon James said of his team’s defense.

“I thought we did a good job defensively taking away looks we might have given them before, and fighting and scrapping and playing through some things.”

Huibregtse scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting on two-pointers and 2-for-3 from behind the arc.

Clague added 15 on 5-for-9 shooting. Benzschawel scored 13 on 4-for-6 shooting, and went 5-for-7 at the free-throw line. Jaden Polack scored 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting and noted after the game it was his first victory over the Suns in his last five tries, including a playoff loss last year.

“There was a lot more intensity. We went into this game with more of a purpose,” he said.

The Hawks’ only deficit of the night was 3-0 early in the game. They soon tied the game, then took the lead for good.

Ben Wilkin’s short jumper at the end of the first half gave the Hawks a 29-22 lead. The advantage never got below five and ballooned to 62-46 with 3 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game.

“You want to be up late in the game, especially with a team like them that has the capability to knock shots down so quickly,” James said.

Clague said the team was ready for the Suns’ flex offense, and the highlight-reel blocks help build the energy.

“Those big plays are really important to get the crowd going and get us going,” he said.

Huibregtse praised his teammates for helping him score.

“My teammates trust in me whenever I have the ball, and they’re always getting in the right places. They mainly make me look good,” he said.

Nearly halfway through the second half, the Hawks had one short stretch with a few turnovers that caused James to call a timeout to regroup.

Huibregtse led the team with eight rebounds. Clague had eight and dished out five assists. Zach Weir scored eight points.

“They did a nice job responding, especially staying in attack mode,” James said.

Dawson Rondorf led East with 17 points.

Grafton improved to 6-8 (8-6 overall) in the North Shore Conference. The Suns fell to 7-4.

The Hawks on Jan. 22 turned a tie game  at halftime into a double-digit victory at South Milwaukee.

The Hawks won, 84-73, after being locked at 30-30 at the break.

Huibregtse had 33 points on 9-for-13 shooting on two-pointers, 3-for-7 on three-pointers and 4-for-4 on free throws.

Clague and Benzschawel each scored 10. Tyler Tsui scored eight and Polack seven.

The Hawks play at Whitefish Bay on Friday, in a tournament at Homestead on Saturday and at Nicolet on Tuesday.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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